Kabut asap ekstrem yang disebabkan oleh kebakaran hutan dan semak di Sumatera and Kalimantan, Indonesia merupakan masalah tidak berkesudahan yang memengaruhi kualitas hidup and ekonomi masyarakat lokal maupun negara tetangga. Seiringan dengan mendekatnya musim kering, angkat titik api mulai meningkat, terutama di provinsi Riau, Sumatera yang rawan terbakar. Kebakaran tersebut sudah mulai mengancam beberapa ekosistem yang kaya akan keanekaragaman hayati serta tinggi karbon di negara ini—hutan lindung dan lahan gambut.
Menurut data Titik Api Aktif NASA pada platform Global Forest Watch Fires, setengah dari peringatan titik api di provinsi Riau terjadi di kawasan-kawasan yang dilindungi atau wilayah moratorium hutan di mana perkembangan baru dilarang menurut kebijakan nasional. Sekitar 38 persen dari peringatan titik api Riau terdapat pada lokasi lahan gambut yang kaya akan stok karbon dan dapat melepaskan gas rumah kaca ke dalam atmosfer yang semakin memicu perubahan iklim global.
Peringatan titik api di Kawasan yang Dilindungi, Riau, Indonesia
24 Juni – 1 Juli 2015
By James Anderson and Lisa Johnston
While investigating forest and bush fires in Indonesia the GFW team stumbled across a surprisingly dense cluster of NASA fire alerts on the Global Forest Watch map in East Java, Indonesia.
Turns out these fires weren’t for clearing forest and scrub land for agriculture. In fact, they weren’t human-caused at all. The fire alerts are clustered around the crater of the Raung Volcano, which reportedly began erupting on Sunday, June 28th, sending clouds of ash thousands of meters into the air.
NASA’s Active Fires data uses the MODIS satellites to detect thermal anomalies. The alerts on the volcano may have been triggered by the intense heat from the crater, the presence of lava flow, or burning vegetation on the slopes ignited by lava or ash.
This isn’t the first time NASA fire alerts have detected volcano eruptions- earlier this year Chile’s Calbuco’s volcano triggered several alerts.
By Fred Stolle and Octavia Payne
This article originally appeared on Insights.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo reaffirmed his commitment to climate leadership this week by renewing Indonesia’s national forest moratorium, which prohibits new licenses to clear key forest areas. While the environmental benefits are well-recognized, the move should also be hailed as a win for businesses and local producers.
Thanks to its large swaths of land, tropical climate, abundant labor and proximity to major markets, Indonesia is well-placed to cash in on the growing global demand for commodities like palm oil, timber, sugar, rice, pulp and paper. The potential profits from these products are sometimes seen as conflicting with efforts like the forest moratorium. But research and experience show that the policy may actually boost current and future economic prosperity.
By Nirarta “Koni” Samadhi and Nigel Sizer
This article originally appeared on The Guardian.
If we are serious about tackling climate change, we need to talk about Indonesia.
While it may not be the country with the highest emissions from energy or industry, what Indonesia does have is forests, and lots of them. Many of the country’s more than 13,000 islands are blanketed by vast green jungles that absorb carbon and store it in trees and soils.
But Indonesia, like many fast-developing countries, is subject to widespread deforestation, releasing carbon pollution back into the atmosphere. Deforestation and land use change drives about 80% of Indonesia’s greenhouse gas emissions, which according to some estimates makes it the world’s fifth biggest emitter.
This year, Indonesia’s leaders have the opportunity to limit these emissions by protecting some of its vast forests under its national “forest moratorium.”
The Leuser Ecosystem on the Indonesian island of Sumatra is a hotspot for endangered biodiversity, described by Mongabay as “the only place on Earth where rhinos, orangutans, tigers and elephants live in the same habitat.” A broad area of the Leuser Ecosystem is designated a “National Strategic Area” for Indonesia, and is mapped as a “conservation area” by the World Database on Protected Areas.
But the protection afforded to this area is ambiguous—in several areas the Indonesian government has granted licenses for oil palm, timber, and wood fiber development that overlap with the mapped protected area. The area highlighted in the map falls both within the Leuser Ecosystem and is designated as a palm oil concession for PT. Mestika Prima Lestari Indah according to Indonesian government data.
This spot stands out when we look at the new 2013 tree cover loss data released last week. The GFW analysis tool indicates that 1,187 hectares of tree cover (an area the size of 1,600 soccer pitches) were cleared 2012 and 2013 alone, much in degraded primary forests. Zooming in on the satellite basemap shows the distinctive brown contours and green dots of an area cleared for oil palm planting.
Explore the area on GFW here.